December 03, 2005

A Simple Concept

Riverbend, our favorite blogger from Iraq, writes in Baghdad Burning, about her reaction to the Bush Annapolis speech and the continuing American occupation of Iraq. It's a simple concept that most Americans understand: the Iraqi people do not want to be occupied anymore, they want the Americans to leave, and they want their own sovereignty back, whatever form that might take.

Here is what Riverbend has to say.

I intend to spend the rest of the night reading about Bush’s ‘strategy’ for Iraq. I haven’t seen it yet, but I expect it’ll be a repetition of the nonsense he’s been spewing for two and a half years now. Don’t Americans get tired of hearing the same thing?It’s unbelievable that he’s refused to set a timetable for withdrawal (is he having another "Bring it on..." moment?). It’s almost as if someone is paying him to intentionally sabotage American foreign policy. With every speech he seems to sink himself deeper into the mire. A timetable for complete withdrawal of American forces would be a positive step- it would give Iraqis hope that, eventually, sovereignty will return to Iraq.As it is, people fear the Americans will be here for the next twenty years- unless they are bombed and attacked out of the country. Although many Iraqis support armed resistance in theory, I think that the average Iraqi simply wants to see them go back home in one piece- we feel sorry for them and especially sorry for their families at times. There are moments when you forget the personal affronts- the raids, the checkpoints, the fear of bombing, the detentions, etc. and you can see through it all to the actual person behind the weapons and body armor... On the other hand, you never forget that it's a foreign occupation and will meet with resistance like all foreign occupations.
Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice can all swear that American troops will not pull out of the country no matter how many casualties they sustain, but history has proven otherwise…


I have heard two interviews on NPR since Bush's speech with reporters who had just spent time imbedded with American troops in Iraq, both of whom directly contradict Bush assertions. One reporter, Scott Peterson of the Christian Science Monitor, said that during his time spent with American troops in the field, he never once heard one soldier, officer or otherwise, use the word "victory," and the most common term he heard used by American troops referring to the men who are fighting the Americans is "nationalists." The other reporter, a European whose name I don't recall, was imbedded with Iraqi and American troops in the attack on Tal Afar which Bush claims was led by Iraqi forces. The reporter says that the Iraqis were led by American Special Forces and directed at every step by them.

How incredibly odd (perhaps not the right word) it is that here we are more than four years after the planning for the invasion of Iraq and only now does the President of the United States come forth with a "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq."

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